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Old 04-16-2010, 03:50 PM   #1
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Default Selecting Ingredients

I've only made two batches of beer, one as a beer kit, and the other buying separate ingredients based on what a home brew book told me.

I want to create a beer by selecting ingredients that I think of, but don't know how I would go about doing that. I understand about alpha acids, and some basic understanding of DME/LME but how do you decide which would go good together?

Can I simply select a few varieties of hops and mix them together based off their alpha acid solely?

Is selecting the DME/LME is it just based off what kind of a beer you want? As in a Pale Ale, Heffeweisen, Lager, etc?

And what about the yeast? One recipe called for an American Lager type yeast for an IPA...

So how would I even begin to know which can mix with what, apart from taking years to sample as many hops, extracts, grains, yeasts as I can..



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Old 04-16-2010, 04:00 PM   #2
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Some of this will come with experience, but when I decided I was ready to stop brewing other peoples' recipes and make my own, I picked up Ray Daniels' book "Designing Great Beers".

It covers the history of many beer styles and gives guidelines on the types and amounts of malts and hops used for the styles.

It is, hands down, my favorite brewing-related book.

edit: it reads like a hybrid history and science book.... lots of charts and tables, which suites me very well.



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Old 04-16-2010, 04:02 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice, I'll definitely check it out!

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Old 04-16-2010, 05:05 PM   #4
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+1 on the Daniels book. It's great for understanding how to balance, adjust, or create a recipe from scratch so you can hit the various marks you may be aiming for in a beer.

Along with Designing Great Beers, I would recommend Sam Calagione's Extreme Brewing and even more so Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing. I know the titles are lame but they really are written for the kind of brewing interests you are expressing here. You will find more detailed information on hops and grains in Mosher then you would in Daniels with much less information on how to put it together. But more than anything he really shows what can be done with imaginative brewing. After you read him you may feel he doesn't go far enough in creative brewing, but before you read him you really have no idea what the potential is for unique, delicious beers.

It's great that you want to explore the different elements of brewing (reminds me of myself not even a year ago). The only real way to understand what parts of your recipe contribute to what parts of your beer is to brew it, but as an amateur it doesn't hurt to read up on it just to give you some basic ideas of what affects what. Then as you get experience brewing what is being said by the authors makes even more sense.

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Old 04-16-2010, 05:06 PM   #5
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I'd also check out this sticky if you haven't seen it yet in the meantime: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/recipe-formulation-ingredients-descriptions-164140/

As for the hops, you can check this out for examples of which ones are typical for certain styles: http://www.byo.com/resources/hops
there's also a similar chart their for yeasts

And for the DME/LME, if its a wheat use wheat extract, otherwise use light or extra light extract and steep / partial mash the characteristic malts.

edit: the BJCP style guidelines can also be used to steer you in the right direction for ingredients: http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/catdex.php

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Old 04-16-2010, 05:13 PM   #6
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Would A Premium Supporter get this guy a Gravity/Hops Ratio graph? Here's a link: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=10141&cat=all&ppuser=636

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Old 04-16-2010, 06:51 PM   #7
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Do you mean post the image directly in here?

I've never seen this before. Printing it now....

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Old 04-16-2010, 06:56 PM   #8
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Actually... I don't know if I agree with that chart at all.

I make a lot of beers in the 1.050 to 1.055 range and would not consider 35 IBU as "extra hoppy". My porter is 1.055 OG/34.9 IBU and I would actually call it "slightly malty".

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Old 04-16-2010, 08:34 PM   #9
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ya, i've used it before, but it doesn't seem to work all that well. Part of it is poor choice of words. Like a stout with 1.05OG and 35IBU, wouldn't be thought of as extra hoppy, but an APA of the same could be. I prefer balance value ( http://beercolor.netfirms.com/balance.html ) to BUGU

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Old 04-17-2010, 10:45 PM   #10
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One of the most important tools I have used to create my own recipes is BeerSmith brew software. It is so versatile. It allows you do all but taste a recipe before you brew it. You can get the demo version of BeerSmith for free to try it out and buying it is only $20. There are also other brewing programs out there too, so shop around. I think it would help you a lot in designing your own brews.



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